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Discussion on: Finding a better way to conduct technical interviews

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Josh Michielsen

I recently wrote a (fairly large) post on the technical interview process here:

For grads specifically, I think it's important to keep in mind that their ability to learn and adapt is much more important than their ability to hit the ground running like an experienced developer. Grads will always spend the first 3-6 months or so as a burden on the team they join, but this can often result in a huge return once they've found their feet.

I've interviewed quite a few grads at a previous company, and I think our biggest mistake was asking them to write code. It's often very stressful, and not a good indication of their ability.

Some thoughts I have:

  • Talk about their university projects, ask them questions that prompt them to explain why they made certain choices.
  • Avoid the boilerplate algorithm and data structures brainteasers.
  • Avoid putting them in front of an editor and asking them to debug. Again, I don't think this will have the desired result.

It might be worth trying to sit down with them in front of a PR, give them some context, and then ask them to explain what the PR is achieving.

Also a very short (1-2 hour) take home task might be good. For example - implement a basic web API in their language of choice.